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Whitefriargate awarded £100,000 for cultural programme

Hull City Council has been awarded a £100,000 grant from Historic England as part of the Whitefriargate High Streets Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) to create and deliver community-led cultural activities on the high street over the next three years.

Whitefriargate HSHAZ is one of more than 60 high streets to receive a share of £6 million for their cultural programme.

The Hi!Whitefriargate Cultural Programme will explore the significance of Hull Old Town’s most historic street. Over the next three years, new commissions, performances and exhibitions will reflect the rich heritage of Whitefriargate and celebrate the role that the street has played in the social and political history of the city, and its importance as a centre of commerce and social interaction.

This is part of the four-year-long High Streets Heritage Action Zones’ Cultural Programme, led by Historic England, in partnership with Arts Council England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund. The Cultural Programme aims to make our high streets more attractive, engaging and vibrant places for people to live, work and spend time.

Duncan Wilson, chief executive at Historic England, said: “The high street cultural programme is a step change in the way we think about bringing high streets back from the brink. As we start to see these important historic spaces become regenerated through building work, it is the community-led cultural work that helps people to enjoy their high street again and also have a say in what the future of their high street might be.”

Councillor Daren Hale, portfolio holder for economic investment and regeneration at Hull City Council, said: “Whitefriargate is one of the most historic and treasured streets in our city, so it is fantastic to see all the investment and confidence being shown in the area.

“This cultural programme will help shine a light on Whitefriargate’s rich history, and invite people to reconnect with and explore one of Hull’s most impressive, historic and significant locations.”

The funding builds on the success of a series of pilot cultural projects that have run since last August across 43 High Street Heritage Action Zones. In Hull, this included an exhibition on Whitefriargate that highlighted and celebrated the city’s black history as part of Black History Month.

In Hull, the Cultural Programme will include commissions and events focusing on the street’s significance as a key cultural and historical location.

Whitefriargate has been at the heart of the historical, cultural and contemporary life of Hull’s people. Whether this relates to the city refusing entry to Charles I in 1642, its part in the Glorious Revolution of 1688, Wilberforce’s role in the abolition of slavery, or the various fashion trends and pop cultures of the swinging sixties, punk rock or house music eras.

A new festival celebrating Hull’s silver trade and craftspeople, who created the amazing historical collections associated with the city, will also take place as part of the three-year programme. Using Whitefriargate as the focal point for the Silver Festival, the event will spread light, sparkle, glamour, and fun to the High Street, and bring to life the skills and designs of silversmithing.

More information regarding Whitefriargate’s Cultural Programme will be announced in due course.


As well as the grant-funded cultural activity taking place on high streets over the next three years, Historic England is curating a programme of cultural commissions to get people back to high streets:


Historic England, the National Trust and Heritage Open Days have commissioned Sound UK to create a series of new High Street Sound Walks available on six High Streets Heritage Action Zones, including Whitefriargate, that will be launched as part of Heritage Open Days (10-19 September). The walks are each co-created with a local sound walk artist and the community, and will result in unique, immersive soundscapes to inspire people to look again at their high streets. 
In Hull, Jez Riley French will explore the positive sub-culture histories of Whitefriargate within living memory. This will include the hopes and dreams of independent shop owners, landmarks connected to the LGBTQ community, the musical hub around Hepworth Arcade, reflecting on sense of identity and belonging. Through microphones, Jez will also uncover the hidden sounds of the environment, including the invisible mesh of electronic signals and urban wildlife on the high street.

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